I hate a thief…

Everyone has that one hot button issue that makes them grind their teeth, or at least grind them more than usual. I’ve mostly accepted that people are awful and they’re going to spend most of their time treating themselves, each other, and every creature they come into contact with awfully.

Knowing this about myself, I can say that the kind of “person” I despise more than almost any other is a thief – the kind of person who decides doing an honest day’s work is for suckers and that whatever someone else has should really be theirs, just because.

This weekend, six charges rolled into my account before I realized someone out there on the internet using my name and account number. It totals to about $320, not a huge hit in the grand scheme, although the amount doesn’t make any particular difference to me. Whether a dollar or ten thousand, it’s the simple fact that I put in the time that cash represents.

Credit card theft is nothing new. It’s been around since American Express pressed their first card, I’m sure. I talked to the bank at length this morning, filed the appropriate fraud report, and was told that they’ll get back to me once they’ve had a chance to review the situation. My assumption is that eventually the charges will be reversed and I’ll be made financially whole. It’s apparently such a common occurrence now that thy told me not to even bother filing a police report. That the bank just shrugs this sort of thing off fills me with a whole different flavor of rage.

The insult added to injury this time is that I’ve already received two of the items the thieves ordered. I’ve got shipping notifications on two of the others. So at least for the next couple of days, I’ll come home to periodic reminders on my doorstep that people are as awful as I think they are.

Identity…

I had planned to save this for the lead off entry of What Annoys Jeff this Week, but the more I think on it, the more it deserves a stand alone place here – a permanent memorial to governmental incompetence that adds insult to injury.

The Office of Personnel Management – the central human resource office for the Executive Branch – over the last four months allowed person, persons, or nation-states unknown to access the personnel records of as many as 4 million current and former federal employees. I don’t know if I’m one of those employees yet because even though the news broke in wide circulation Friday – and OPM has known about it since at least April – they still have not notified the people whose information is “out there” in the wild. With four million records up for grabs, it feels like a safe bet that some or my information is in that mix.

“But,” they say, “this happens to the private sector all the time.” That’s partially true, but not nearly the same. This isn’t someone taking a quick imprint of your credit card and scamming you for a 2000 handbag. We’re talking about potentially every shred of information that Uncle Sham has collected about his employees – name, social security number, credit record, mother’s maiden name, names and addresses of people interviewed for security clearance checks, evaluations, bank account numbers, basically every bit of data someone needs to prove that you are you in the electronic world.

So that’s the injury.

The insult? Well OPM has very helpfully copied and pasted some information about how to prevent identity theft by “monitoring financial account statements and immediately report any suspicious or unusual activity to financial institutions.” Oh, they’re probably going to throw in some low-bidder credit monitoring service for as few months as they think they can get away with, but the message from echelons higher than reality thus far has been “Adios my friends, you’re on your own.”

Network security is hard. Got it. But historically the business of government is to do what is hard – to do what the individual can’t do on their own – build the interstates, land on the moon, forge a nation out of 13 newly independent states, and then conquer a continent. If they can’t be bothered to keep the password updated on the damned human resources database, honest to God I don’t have a clue what we’re even doing anymore.

What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. “Being robbed by the rich.” Based on what I see popping up from time to time on social media I should be furious because the money I’m supposed to have has apparently been stolen by the uber-wealthy. A quick look at this month’s bank statement will show without a doubt that I’m not one of them. Somehow I don’t feel like I’ve been the victim of theft, though. I started saving when I got my first job, made some good trades, and got lucky on more than one occasion. I’ve managed to stash a little back for the proverbial rainy day and for the far off day when I’m neither willing nor able to work any longer. Because there isn’t as much there as I’d like isn’t an indication that it was stolen from me so much as it’s an indication that I need to do a better job saving. There’s a vocal little group out there who apparently think the “rich” have snuck into my account and walked away with a bag of cash. Truth be told, I’m far more worried about long term inflation and the devaluation of the dollar than I am the “Wall Street Banksters” raiding me for pocket change.

2. Low grade crud. I’ve been suffering from some kind of low grade crud for weeks now. Some days are worse than others, but mostly it presents as a stuffy nose, occasional cough, and sore throat that sort of comes and goes of its own accord. It’s annoying, but not to the level of being worth having anyone check it out. Whatever’s in there coming and going needs to just go because it has more than worn out its welcome.

3. “Islamophobia.” Rest assured when I use the phrase Islamic terrorist I know exactly what I mean. I mean a terrorist who is either motivated by their Islamic faith or one who is using it as a justification for barbaric actions. Despite what some busybody old bat standing near me in line last weekend thinks, it’s not an indication that I am “Islamophobic.” I most assuredly don’t fear Islam or any other religion for that matter. I use Islamic terrorist to denote an asshat or asshats who claim to use one of the world’s great religions as justification for everything from petty crime, to mass murder, to acts of war. Rest assured, just as soon as a Methodist or Catholic shoots up Mad Magazine because Jesus told them to I’ll be among the first in line condemning them for it. I don’t blame a whole faith for the actions of a few, but I damned well do blame that faith when they don’t rise up in one voice to condemn those splinter elements who are pirating the name of their God for a decidedly ungodly purpose.

What I Did on My Furlough Day (Part 4 of 11)…

Well, we’re four weeks in to DoD’s brilliant cost-saving furlough and routines are starting to develop. Saturday Part 1 (a.k.a Furlough Friday, a.k.a. Old Friday) has become the default day for running errands, going to Walmart for groceries, and beating the lawn back into submission. Basically I’m still putting in a full day’s work, it’s just work that I’m not getting paid for and use to be considered part of the weekend routine. Aside from the making of a new routine, there’s nothing significant to report. Hanging out at home, minimizing expenses where I can, and generally trying not to have an aneurism every time someone mentions a five-week Congressional recess or a multi-million dollar presidential vacation.

Give a man a gun and he can rob a bank. Give him a bank and he can rob the government… but if you elect him to office he can steal it all.